Indicator lavish attention on four less well-known, non-Gothic Hammer Films productions in their second box set devoted to the company: Criminal Intent focuses on a range of bad behaviour from murder to bank robbery and child molestation in four films which, while not all entirely successful, illuminate the studio’s versatility.
Two excellent recent Blu-ray releases illuminate different strains of British fantasy. They Came to a City (1944), written by J.B. Priestley and directed by Basil Dearden is a Utopian political fable proposing a new Socialist society for post-war Britain, while Nigel Kneale’s Quatermass and the Pit (1959) spins an epic tale of human evolution and our innate propensity for violence through the story of an ancient spaceship discovered buried beneath London.
Clive Barker’s distinctive prose style, while it creates vivid and highly visual stories, is difficult to transform into movies because the themes and meanings of the stories are strangely abstract. While Barker himself has been his own most successful adapter, there have been many attempts to capture his vision on film – some better than others. George Pavlou’s Rawhead Rex (1986) misses the mark, but Bernard Rose’s Candyman almost succeeds but is diverted by moving the story from Liverpool to Chicago.
Henri-Georges Clouzot’s La vérité (1960) is less well-known than Wages of Fear and Les Diaboliques, but it’s one of his finest features, a complex, emotionally wrenching work which gave Brigitte Bardot her greatest role. Criterion’s excellent new Blu-ray presents the film in a spectacular restoration, with substantial supplements.
Criterion’s release of Elaine May’s one-of-a-kind Mikey and Nicky (1976) on Blu-ray calls attention to one of the most unjustly neglected movies of its era, a devastatingly raw dissection of masculinity, friendship and betrayal by a filmmaker who was too distinctively original to fit comfortably into the business of Hollywood.